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Portfolio letter tips


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It's the end of the term and it's time for one of the final steps: writing your portfolio letter. Don’t freak out! You’re almost done! Concentrate on introducing your essays, focus on your strengths and weakness, and let the evaluator know what you've gained from composing this portfolio.

Here are some tips that might be helpful for you:

1. It only has to be one-two pages (Woo-hoo!)

The portfolio letter should be from one to two pages.

2. Start it like a letter

You could start your letter the way you start any regular letter:

“Dear evaluators,
Enclosed you will find…”

Then you can start by introducing the texts/papers you have included. You can tell them some titles of your texts/papers and what they are about.

3. Mention your strengths and weaknesses

Now it’s time to show them that you have an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. This is the most important part of your letter.

  • Strengths: Think of this part as your selling points. Here, you are giving them all the reasons why you should pass from 11 in English.
  • Weaknesses: Are we kidding? If this letter is to let evaluators know why you should pass form 11, then why are we suggesting that you mention your weaknesses? The point is simple: a strong writer recognizes not only his/her strengths, but also his/her weaknesses as well. To be able to point out your weaknesses and at the same time, tell your portfolio evaluators what you've done to improve upon these weaknesses will only make your point stronger.


Remember that the more specific you can be, the easier it would be for evaluators to see and identify with your points. (Therefore, refer to specific sections of the papers you've included to demonstrate your point whenever possible.)

4. Wrap it up
Once you have introduced your texts/papers and examined your strengths and weaknesses, all you have left to do is conclude your letter. This might be a good time to recap on what you have learned/gained from learning English in form 11.

5. Don't forget

This portfolio letter is a part of your portfolio. Make sure that your ideas are clear and focused, and that your grammar and spelling are clean and tidy.

 Portfolio Assessment
Directions for Reflective Letter

Your portfolio should be preceded by a short reflective introduction. Consider this introduction an opportunity to explain your strengths and weaknesses as well as your progress as a writer to the instructor(s) who will read your portfolio. In order to write this letter, you’ll need to analyze your own writing process and the two papers you’ve included in the portfolio.

  • What is it among the papers that you would like to draw attention to?
  • What qualities in the included papers reveal your strengths as a writer?
  • What do you think you still need to work on?

In short, how would you assess your abilities as a writer based on the material included in the portfolio? This introduction should be no longer than one double-spaced page and should make reference to the portfolio essays in order to illustrate ideas and back up statements about your progress as a writer.

Sample Letter

Note: This model is not intended to be prescriptive or an example of a "perfect" letter; instead, it should give you a general idea of what you might produce in response to the prompt.

To the Portfolio Readers:

This portfolio contains my first essay for the quarter, a narrative essay, and my last essay which is a persuasive essay about the American Dream as it operates today. I think the last essay demonstrates my strengths in focus and argumentation, and my first essay shows that I can use vivid supporting description and examples. At the end of this quarter I think my main strength as a writer is the ability to vividly describe what I observed and have experienced.

In the narrative essay that I’ve included you’ll see that I describe a terrible shooting that I witnessed, using dialogue and vivid sensory details. I wanted the reader to see how terrible and senseless this experience was. I used this strength in my persuasive essay as well. I described a vivid scene from the movie we watched in class and gave several vivid descriptions of the Boeing workers in my family and what they’ve experienced. Another strength in my essays is the focus. The narrative essay communicates an implicit thesis about how I lost my faith because of how senseless the shooting was. My persuasive essay uses a more explicit thesis about how American Workers need the American Dream. In this essay, I really focused my revision on staying with this point, but considering counterarguments as well without straying.     

I think my best essay this quarter was my narrative essay. I feel more comfortable in this style than in the persuasive or expository style of writing. I took creative risks with this essay because it seemed more like creative writing to me, which I do a lot on my own time. It was interesting to really explore what this experience meant to me and try to make an audience see it.One of my goals when I began 101 was to learn how to write better introductions and conclusions. I’ve definitely improved in my introductions (I use the "hook" method in both the essays I’ve included), but I’m still working on conclusions that don’t "just rehash the thesis." In relation to organization, although I organize points well in paragraphs, at times, I don’t feel like I’ve established a strong transition between my points.



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